Will it ever become enjoyable?: First run of C... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Will it ever become enjoyable?

C25KC25K profile image
53 Replies

First run of C25K, never been for a run in my life, i knew it would be difficult at first but THIS difficult i wasn’t expecting. I just wonder, will it get easier and will i eventually find it fun?

53 Replies
Strangethings profile image

It will be , just persevere, I had never ever run in my life and never thought I could .

This is a fabulous site with lots of folk encouraging you and really good advice for the novice runner .

As an overweight never before “run” person - I have graduated thanks to this forum and kept running albeit for no more than 30 minutes.

Keep at it - you will do it

Spartacus22 profile image

Yes but like with almost everything its about mindset. You need to get a few under your belt before you see noticeable difference. Try something to track yourself like strava so you can see how your improving week on week.

IannodaTruffe profile image

Welcome to the forum and well done on getting started.

This guide to the plan is essential reading healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

and includes advice on minimising impact, stretching after every run, hydration and strengthening exercises, all of which will help.

When you can run for 30 minutes, in just a few weeks time, the early weeks will seem very easy.

Slow down.........you are trying to go too fast.........everybody does.

Enjoy your journey.

Tap_per profile image

I'm in week 4 and I cant say I yet find it fun as I'm doing it but the feeling after is amazing which I didnt get in the first couple of weeks. Keep at it.

I'm hoping I will start to enjoy it as I do it as I build my stamina up over the coming weeks.

Somerlass profile image

I’ve never run before and up until now when I’ve run I’ve been thinking ‘really, what is the point of this running lark’ but tonight wk6r3 I actually forgot about the time, maybe because it was straight running, and just got on with the run started thinking that this running lark is ok, I might just start to enjoy it. It’s definitely a mindset thing. Give it a chance. You never know in a few weeks you’ll be hooked and loving it.

Gettingfitslowly profile image
Gettingfitslowly in reply to Somerlass

Glad to here it I'm nearly where you are and abit worried about longer runs!!

Issywhizz profile image

You should read the post written by JoolieB1 which may give you some inspiration and hope..

Also, like you, I’d never ran before doing C25K and I too was dubious, but I’m about to start W5 in a few days and am loving it. As you progress through each run, you will slowly enjoy it more and more. Plus, I definitely think it’s all about the mindset. So try to seek those positive thoughts and wear a smile when you run and it will become easier and you’ll end up loving it. Good luck 💪🏻🏃‍♀️🌈

Irish-John profile image

Yes it will, and yes you will :)

Read the begining posts of graduates. Very few of us thought we would ever be "Runners" - but we are :)

Trust the programme :)

Wishing you many happy miles in your future :)

ArthurJG profile image

It’s not so much that the running gets easier: rather YOU get stronger. You’ve done the hardest bit by getting off the couch. If you’re finding it really difficult try slowing down: the commonest beginner mistake (apart from staying on the couch) is going too fast. Speed is totally unimportant at this stage, go as slowly as you need to to get to the end.

Crawlingto5k profile image
Crawlingto5kGraduate in reply to ArthurJG

I completely agree -trying to week 4 and the last 5 minute run was a killer. I slowed down my pace, which I didn't think was fast in the first place, and managed it fine.

Rigpig profile image

Yes! :-)

It does get easier, yes you will get stronger, yes you will feel great, yes you will enjoy it.

Like anything worth doing it takes a bit of time but the time passes and before you know it you will be a fitter, stronger and happier :-)

DooomAndGlooom profile image

Yes, it will! It will take time for sure and the trick is never to go too fast and take plenty of 'walk-breaks' during the early weeks. As someone else mentioned below, sign up on something like the Strava site so that you can track your progress - it really does make a difference as you see your speed/distance increase.

BobJ52 profile image

Hi just about to go out on W7R1 25mins jog.

I was like you on W1, I had never run , bad knees , overweight and hated every minute! Now I am even sort of enjoying the, for me ,very slow jogging. Keep it up it will get easier

Gettingfitslowly profile image

Yes!! Your will be so proud of yourself as you go on. The repetitive runs get easier as you will get use to the training however the app how ever will push you to get fitter and it is difficult at times but reward is worth it. I'm at week 6. Didnt think I'd be here 6 weeks ago.

Fattycanrun profile image

Not neccessarily enjoyable but certainly more satisfying as you start to achieve minor goals. Don't be afraid to back class yourself or stay on a particular day if youre not ready to move forward. I'm just back after 9 weeks away because I drive to my running place. It's hard again but so glad I didn't give up

Newbiefitness profile image

Week 1 was so tough, I actually repeated the week and thought I would never get through it but run 1 of week 2 was a moment for me when I thought may be this is possible.

Mindset is really important, Jo said in my ear that you have to tell yourself you are enjoying it and that again was another game changer for me, I went from grimacing to grinning to doing a little skip of joy at the end of week 2.

I start week 4 this week. If I can do it as a completely anxious fitness newbie then so can you 😃

MrsDidds profile image

Please keep going! The best of advice I’ve seen or had is trust the program / just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I love my running now. It’s worth the struggle.

Minsy profile image

I can’t say I enjoy it but I do feel good once I’ve done a run and I know it’s good for me. I have found in the current circumstances that it eases the stress a little too. Try listening to podcasts or your favourite music tracks. Good luck. Keep going 👍

richfromnotts profile image

Yes, just bear with it and persevere. There’s no gain without some pain but run through that and think about the benefits of success; weight loss, strength, not getting out of breath when walk up stairs. I weighed over 20 stone when I started and could barely run down the hill from our village church. In a year I’ve lost 3 stone and run 6-7km at least 2 or 3 times a week. It’s worth it if you don’t give up. Good luck.

teapotdictator profile image

Music has been key for me while I run - I have to have good music and that, combined with the pride in myself I feel for being out there and doing it, and the (mostly) sunshine and being out in nature - it just feels great. I too started overweight and having not run for 10 years (and even then, it was only to complete the C25K and stopped soon after) - I am 49 and mainly started to help my kids do it whilst under quarantine. Yesterday ran my W8R2 and managed 3.9k in 28 minutes - so proud of myself! Follow all the tips above (I have knee supports from Amazon and they have helped) and keep going!

Jojoarnie profile image

I did my Wk8 R2 run yesterday, having started the programme in lockdown, and that is the first one I can actually say I enjoyed. Keep it up, one foot in front of the other. You can do it!

Magellan profile image

I'd echo what the others have said: yes, it gets better and it even gets good. I enjoy running now and I love the feeling I get for a few hours after a run (I think it's about endorphins or something).

But also, you can make it more enjoyable. Make a playlist of really good music for while you're running. Enjoy the scenery or people's front gardens or whatever you're running past, enjoy being out in the nice weather. Get some posh bubble bath and treat yourself to a lovely soak afterwards as a reward for your runs.

5kMama profile image

I guess it's how your mindset is towards it. I love it because it's my only break I get from my children haha and I also get exercise from it. It gave me an excuse to have some freedom without feeling guilty. I've always hated running or any form of exercise but with this I blast my music and try and not even think about the actual run, I just go! And I've never found that with any other form of exercise and I've tried a lot! Good luck and keep going! It's a challenge but so worth it and I've not even completed it yet!

Reggit profile image

I’m starting week 2 today. 7 days seems so long ago, where I thought I was going to be physically sick. After that I found posts saying to slow down, should have read those first!

The 2nd and 3rd run last week weren’t bad at all and all my aches and pains from the first one had gone. Almost (but not quite) looking forward to today and starting on week 2.

I use Fitbit and strava. I noticed over the end of last week and weekend that my resting pulse was starting to fall, that’s the first sign of improvement I’ve seen.

Before starting the program, I’d been taking walks over lunchtime for a few weeks to slowly get my fitness to a level where I stand half a chance of doing this.

Found people who have been here a while are really encouraging and offer great advice.

Keep at it!

Angelpoppy profile image


This was me four weeks ago. I couldn't even complete the first day and had to try again. Today I'm starting Week 5 so I'm living proof that the programme does work! I'm almost 48, weight to lose and hopelessly unfit, but just 4 weeks later I'm able to keep up with the programme and really enjoying it. I never thought I'd say that! Keep going, you will get to like it, you'll enjoy the sense of achievement that you get as you master another stage. Both the guide on here and the forums have been fabulous for support. You can do it! 😃

Running-scooter1 profile image
Running-scooter1 in reply to Angelpoppy

I've started Wk5 today. Complete novice runner but really pleased I've got this far. How are you feeling about the 20 min run 3. Its a big hike from 8 minutes.

Angelpoppy profile image
AngelpoppyGraduate in reply to Running-scooter1

A little trepidatious! But I keep reminding myself of all of the other times that felt like a big jump up and I did it. I did W5R2 today and could do the two 8 mins and with the 5m brisk walk in between, that's one more minute than I'll have to run next time 😃 if you look at it like that, it's possible! Also my second 8m run was easier than the first today, I think you kind of hit your stride and can keep going for longer than you realise. Good luck, you can definitely do it-- let me know how you get on.

SamBell profile image
SamBellGraduate in reply to Angelpoppy

Absolutely right! You do just hit your stride - trust the programme, you have trained for that 20 minute run, and as long as you keep a positive mindset you'll be fine! I did my W7R1 this morning and can hardly believe i can run for 25mins non-stop. It feels so great!

Angelpoppy profile image
AngelpoppyGraduate in reply to SamBell

That's fantastic, what a great achievement 😊 thank you for the words of encouragement, tomorrow's my big day so 🤞

Alex9273 profile image

It doesn't help just now, but once we are back to the new normal, if you have a Parkrun or running group near you, give that a try. I find the company helps and makes it more enjoyable.

Tracyu profile image

I was the same- thought I’d never do it! I literally thought I was dying at the end of the first run- but I made myself do the next one( I think the fact hubby said I’d never do it has spurred me on 😃- I won’t be beaten!!) I’m on week two run three- stick with it and it will get easier

Outdoorsy19 profile image

I think it’s about making it a habit and that will come. I’d have asked the same thing a few months ago but now running 3 x week is embedded in my routine and I think I would feel bereft without it. Try to find a route you enjoy, take in your surroundings, know where each kilometre is, and most of all enjoy the health benefits and improving fitness you are gaining. Feeling better about yourself is the biggest pleasure and running is the vehicle for this. Keep going...

Sparkey5000 profile image

Yes!!! First one is the hardest ever......but you did it so don’t stop now!!!

HerbieL profile image

I’m 51 I’ve never been a natural runner and I never will be. I’m on wk8 now and it is really hard but never did I think I would be able to run for 28 minutes but I did it. I don’t enjoy going but I find it quite difficult and I worry about injury, I only go once maybe twice a week at the moment if I’m lucky to avoid finishing my shins off completely. I do think if I could run with ease I would really enjoy it but think this will come with time. Keep going don’t give up it is worth it and you will feel proud every time you achieve a run x

Mixedbaggy profile image

The first times always difficult. But it does become more enjoyable, never easier just we get better at it. You'll be surprised how your mindset will change when you finally see the fruits of your labour x

Bloomsbury22 profile image

First of all, you have done the most difficult bit and you have got out there. Congratulations!

Honestly, it does get both easier and more enjoyable. To give you context, I really badly broke my ankle a few years back. Three surgeries type bad, and it had to be completely rebuilt and does not have the same movement, so thought running was definitely out for me. And never, ever been a runner anyway. Swimming is my go-to. With lockdown that was obviously out for me. So a combination of desperately craving fresh air, and a few minutes away from my partner (ha!), I gave this a go. Honestly, I thought I was going to die! I really struggled with R1W1, but the fortunately I came on this forum and had a good look around. So decided to give it another go, taking a few bits of advice under my belt. These are what helped me:

1) Drinks loads of water...then drink more. On both run days and rest days, and well, every day. Keep a big bottle beside you at all times and you will surprise yourself how many times I day you get up to refill it. I really suffered from heavy legs in the beginning, which I put down to weight, but a lot of it is hydration, and your body figuring out what the heck you are up to. This will ease if you push through it.

2) Good stretches, both before and after each run, religiously. If you search on this forum for stretches some good ones will come up. It really makes a huge difference with loosening you up. As will that five minute warm up walk if you really approach it with some gusto. In fact, I am sure I jog slower than my warm up walk. For sure. Also treat yourself after a run to a relaxing bath if you have time.

3) Half a banana five minutes before a run. It not only gives you the right kind of energy but the potassium helps with cramps.

4) Have you got something upbeat or really distracting to listen to? Whether this is really upbeat songs that you can sing along to in your head, or a funny podcast? You can listen to these at the same time with the Couch to 5K app. The more distracting the better as it stops you concentrating on time.

5) Where are you running? If running outside, perhaps try a new route. At first I tried running around the park near me. But there were too many people, I felt self-conscious at first (good note here, absolutely nobody is looking at you, and if anybody is, it will be wishing they had the oomph to be getting out and doing some exercise themselves), and it was actually a bit monotonous just doing laps. So I started running around the houses round where I live, literally up one street, down another, weaving in and out, checking out people's gardens, who was doing work, people sitting in their gardens giving me the thumbs up encouraging me on my way. Over time, you find the streets you like best, and now have a few new familiar faces who encourage me along my way. All of this is even further distraction, enjoying your surroundings, doing a bit of exploring, all distracting you from just fretting about time. Your coach is there the whole time and will keep you motivated and tell you when it is time to slow down.

6) No matter how slow you are running, you can run slower. Honestly, it is not a race. It is about feeling as comfortable as you can and building stamina.

It really does get easier. I don't know who you are using for your coach, but I use Jo Whiley and she is great for me. A couple of things she has said along the way have really resonated with me and have started to stick. It is the pushing through things that builds stamina. Which makes the next run better. When you do complete a run, really enjoy it and celebrate the achievement. Now remember what that feels like, and it really helps you get through the next run. Also, once you have completed running a certain time, it somehow fixes in your brain that you can run that time, which spurs you on, as you know you can do it. Also, if you start getting negative things in your head, like "hate running", just repeat something positive over and over again, like "I love running" even though it isn't true yet, or remind yourself why you are doing this. I often chant over and over "I'm doing this for me", almost screaming it in my head. Honestly, it does work, just repeat something positive over and over and over again blocking the negative stuff out.

I hope this helps. Reach out to this forum. No matter how you feel, there will be tons of other people who have felt exactly the same way. I never, ever, ever thought I would be at the beginning of Week 6, and I could not have done it without this support. Reach out anytime! x

Peawee profile image

I don’t think about running 🏃‍♀️ just think about relaxing this helps me only on w2r1

SteHarr65 profile image

I did my C25K in the hot hot summer of 2018 aged 52 and had not run since leaving school. I didn't even have a pair of trainers for the first two weeks, I actually ran in my work boots. It was flippin hard work I agree with you, but please do keep going you've made the choice to do it , so I think you'll keep going. Two years later and I now have two pairs of running shoes 1 pair of Brooks road and 1 pair of ASICS trail. I do suffer a bit with shin splints but the only advise I would give you is to take time to build up your running legs. Once you get over the shock of week5 run3 you will be completely hooked and loving it and so proud of yourself. Good luck we are all routing for you, believe me.

BaileyRun profile image

Hi there, it does get enjoyable. I promise! I have always loved exercising - but only indoors - never had time for this outdoor stuff! but because of lock down decided to challenge myself to running. I went out this morning to do week 4 run 1. It had been raining through the night and that is a clear indication of an excuse for me to stay indoors, but I had no hesitation and off I went. I had a blast. It is really addictive. As I said I have always worked out but never felt the same buzz and addiction that I have for running - and outdoors - I cant' quite believe it. I have run outdoors before, but so sporadically and was never keen to do it again. This app builds you up slowly and steadily. You will get there, keep going, do what they say on the app. I think that's important. Don't push yourself, don't run too fast, but most of all enjoy it!

tuiliere profile image

Wondering same thing. Doing week 2 for 3rd time. I get so paranoid about injuries but am doing all the strength and flex exercises.

I know what you mean , I’d never run before , am a curvy size 16 and at first got so out of breath .. I’m now on week 8 and I still wander If I’ll ever be one of those joggers that make it look easy I find the last few minutes hard but I take it slow and breathe and It is getting easier as my lungs get fitter .. I have started to look forward to runs and am strangely addicted to the after feeling from it and generally feel better mentally from it .. I literally shuffle along slowly , no idea how far I’ve run,I save up good podcasts to listen to as I run and it’s become my ‘me’ time throughout lockdown .. Keep going at a pace that works for you , it does get easier X

Yodler profile image
YodlerGraduate in reply to Leytonunfitrunner

Excellent advice xx

Scundered profile image

Just finished my first two hours ago. I thought I'd never manage but the best advice was to go at your own, comfortable, pace. With that in mind and not trying to stride as if I was a ballet dancer out for a run, I took small steps and was able to manage, to my surprise. I feel good too, psychologically. Tomorrow I'll ache but I don't care.

My problem was how I was going to look. I'm very overweight and a man, so I had to ignore bouncing moobs, belly and so on. People who looked didn't freak out - and why should they; it's me who's so body conscious, not them! You will succeed as I will too. Stick at it. In nine weeks the two of us will be runners. Today's run is our first step and it's over. Buddy up with me and we'll report our progress to each other and the other helpful contributors too. Roll on Wednesday! Peter.

GreenHorse2020 profile image
GreenHorse2020Graduate in reply to Scundered

Ha ha, that was my mistake at the beginning, I was trying to keep up with my daughter who is a ballet dancer! Now I let her steam off ahead into the distance while I plod along behind at my own pace..... and it works, just about to start week 9. Good luck and enjoy the journey.

GreenHorse2020 profile image

I struggled in the first week too and ended up doing week 1 twice. After joining this forum I learnt to trust the programme and crucially to slow down. I had made the mistake of trying to keep up with my daughter who is much fitter than me. I have followed the programme since then without feeling the need to repeat any runs. So from struggling to run for one minute at the beginning I can now run for 28 mins at the end of week 8. Stick with it, you will be amazed at how quickly you improve and really notice the difference. And yes you will start to enjoy it and feel proud of yourself!

RemyPoshPaws profile image

It will get easier... promise! Just keep it slow & steady. I felt exactly the same... had very little faith in myself, but that builds as you see small improvements... so until then, trust the podcasts & system will get you there! Stay positive xx

Labrador06 profile image

Well done for starting! Yes it will get easier and you will become more confident.I have a back injury so hadn’t done any high impact work for 8 years but am now up to week 7. I did repeat week 1 as I didn’t feel confident about running for longer and then when I reached week 2 I found it much easier.I do think that running is psychological.Run with music that you like that really helps to keep you going.Just keep with the program and don’t give up! Good Luck!

Damo61 profile image

Practice with some 30 min brisk walks before even attempting to run if running is difficult. Just enjoy being outdoors. I guess everyone says this but it works..... slow it right down. Slow, slow, slow. Upright posture and look to the horizon not your feet. Get some music on. If you’re in an urban area find a park or some green space to run in or try and run when traffic is lighter. It does get more enjoyable but not if you’re exhausting yourself. Good luck and keep going.

IzzyMP profile image

Keep going. I don't always enjoy my run but I love the feeling at the end !! Mind over matter. You will get there and it will get easier. Don't worry about running too slowly, better that than still being on the couch. Good luck 🏃🏻🏃🏻

Yodler profile image
YodlerGraduate in reply to IzzyMP

Absolutely agree x

Rasmus profile image

Haha I've just finished WK7 and as I'm now running for 25 min stretches I guess it must get easier....but as for being fun, I'm still waiting to be convinced of that 😘 #nevergiveuphope

Carjul60 profile image

I can completely relate to that. I really want to run, but it just never works. I used to do Park runs every Saturday, for over 2 years, but never got round running all the way. I always had to walk bits. I even managed to run 5k on my treadmill, but take the same distance outside, and it doesn't happen. I don't even get to the 1k cone without having to walk at the moment, and when I did it regularly, the best I ever did was 3 k. I don't know what the problem is, maybe I start too fast or something. I know that I over concentrate on my breathing, because it is always the feeling that I'm breathing all wrong that makes me have to stop and walk. Everyone says it gets easier, but I never noticed. I am going to have another go at it, because I so want to complete one running all the way. Incidentally, I did a few 10k's about 4 years ago, but they had to be run, walk, run, walk. They took me an hour to complete.

Good luck. I hope you conquer your demons.

Carjul60 profile image

Also, I forgot to add, I am 60 at the end of this year. For the last 3 years, I have done a 1 hour bootcamp every week day morning. They were a combination of HIIT, met on, weight lifting, cardio and flexibility. I found those easier than trying to keep running for 1k. They were really tough, but I loved them. Coronavirus has killed them off for a while.

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